Alcoholism is part of the human condition. One will not find the disease resting in one kind of social tier or any specific race. It is not higher in some countries and lower in others (if one can find an example of this, than take into account the possibility that governments may not like to admit there are sick alcoholics in their country). Alcoholism does not discriminate and it does not hide. It is found all over the world, in every nation, race and social class.
Alcoholism as a Disease
Several sources around the world, including the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization, have confirmed that alcoholism is a genetic disease, passed down through generations. To date, there is no known chemical or medical remedy for the disease other than total abstinence. There are certain kinds of prescriptions out there, yes, that help to dissuade someone from drinking, such as Antabuse, naltrexone, and topiramate. These medications decrease people’s cravings for alcohol or “punish” someone for drinking by making them more sick when they do.
Alcoholism is basically defined as an allergy to alcohol. People who are alcoholics drink abnormally. When alcohol enters their system, they have an abnormal reaction to it and their craving increases drastically. Personality changes are also known to happen- and not just your run-of-the-mill “drunk self” kind of personality change, wherein someone becomes more loving or chatty, emotional or aggressive- but drastic, profound personality changes where the drinker becomes someone else altogether.
The medications that are out to “help” alcoholics and their drinking to not remedy the allergy, the cravings or even the personality changes. When an alcoholic drinks, that’s pretty much it until they either pass out or are stopped by some kind of outside physical force, such as being arrested.
Around the World
Seeing as alcohol is common in pretty much every culture around the world, save a few, then so are the amount of people who are alcoholics. This is not to say that drinking itself spawns the disease, such as getting exposed to someone who has a cold and then getting the cold yourself without having it beforehand. This is also not to say that alcoholism is contagious. The disease is always there in someone whether they drink or not- they are born with it. The disease spawns at different times for everyone, which is to say the allergy becomes active, and some speculate that it is a combination of biological factors and life experience that brings this about- but it always does come about at some point or another.
The only way to be “cured” of alcoholism is total abstinence. The best way to do this is to join some kind of a 12-step program, the most popular being Alcoholics Anonymous. AA started in the United States back in the 1920s and has since grown to be a world-wide organization. It can be found in most countries around the world, even in Muslim countries where drinking is typically forbidden.
A recent study came about stating global facts about drinking. Russia has the most hazardous drinking culture in the world, with the most alcohol related deaths in the world. 1 in 5 men in Russia die from alcohol related issues, and it is the country’s number one killer. Despite having the most strict drunk driving laws and having banned the sale of Vodka after 10 PM, Russia still holds the leader in this grim regard.
Europe is the heaviest drinking culture as a whole in the world, with Ireland as the “drunkest” country in the world. The USA only drinks about a third as much as Europe does, but has a higher mortality rate per capita. Some speculate this is due to the US having such a high drinking age and that Europeans use public transit to get home from bars more, whereas the public transit in the US is confined to the major cities, and not all of them at that.